Foreign students: Not welcome here
STUDENTS are annoying. They sleep till noon, listen to awful music and think Jackass is amusing. However, these are hardly compelling reasons for any nation to curb the influx of foreigners to its universities.
America has the best universities in the world, but its immigration enforcers have done a good job of making them less attractive. The proportion of the world’s overseas students who come to America has fallen from 23% in 2000 to 18% in 2009. America educated 66% of the world’s MBAs in 2000; that share fell to 44% in 2011, and has shrivelled even in absolute terms, from 126,000 to 116,000. The biggest turn-off is the difficulty of obtaining a work visa after graduating—even highly-skilled foreigners typically wait a decade for a green card. President Barack Obama pays lip service to the need to open up, but has overseen millions of deportations. A new study from the Kauffman Foundation, a think-tank in Missouri, finds that anti-immigrant politics appear to have stunted American enterprise. The proportion of Silicon Valley startups with immigrant founders has tumbled from 52% to 44% since 2005.
Britain has turned even harsher. The Conservative Party has promised to reduce net immigration from 250,000 a year when it came to power to 100,000 by 2015. Since it has no control over the number of EU citizens who enter Britain or the number of Brits who leave—the two main drivers of net immigration—it finds itself squeezing students from outside the EU.